Web Workshop: FTP

Follow these simple instructions to get your site on the Web.


CFH Web WorkshopNow that you've created your website, registered a domain name, and found a Web host, it's time to transfer your files to the Web. This is called uploading files. To upload files you need an FTP program.

FTP software will transfer files from your machine to the remote server. To use FTP you'll need:

  • A login name
  • A password
  • The name of the directory or folder on the server where you will store your pages

You can get all of this information from your host (the owner of the server space). Most hosts also offer step-by-step instructions for uploading your pages to particular servers.

There are many free or shareware FTP programs available. WS_FTP LE is a basic but functional, and more importantly, free FTP tool.

However, the most commonly used programs are CuteFTP for the PC and Fetch for the Mac. There is another shareware FTP program for the Mac called Vicomsoft FTP. It functions in much the same way CuteFTP does. Download Vicomsoft FTP.

For more information on using these FTP programs, read:

How to Upload a File

What you need to have

  1. An FTP program

  2. A file to upload

  3. Space on a remote server

  4. Compression software

What you need to do

  1. Install an FTP program

  2. Connect to an FTP host

  3. Compress the file

  4. Upload the file

Uploading files is a survival skill for anyone with a homepage or for shareware and freeware developers interested in distributing software.

Although many people online have less experience with uploading than they do with downloading, uploading is just as easy. While it is possible to upload with certain Web browsers, FTP clients offer a wider variety of options than any browser and make uploading a cinch.

Four simple steps

1. Install the FTP program onto your hard disk.

If you need an FTP program, check out some applications in our FTP Software Library.

2. Connect to an FTP host/server.

Once you've chosen to open a connection (usually this command is located in the program's File menu, but check the FTP program's documentation for more details), you should see a dialog box that has, among other options, fields for host (or server), username, and password. These are the most important fields and are usually the only ones you need to modify.

To upload files to most servers, you will need to have your own space on that server. This type of access often requires you to have a special username and password for the server. To connect to the server, enter your username and password in their respective fields, as well as the server's host name (which can either be a string of numbers or words separated by periods, much like a Web address). For more information on getting an account on the server, contact the server's system administrator.

3. Compress the file.

Before you upload the file to the remote server, you should compress it using a format that lets the file move safely and quickly across the Internet. Only a few file formats do not need compression, such as text (.txt) files and HTML (.htm or .html) documents. Anything executable (that is, program files), or any data files for programs such as Microsoft Word and Corel Wordperfect, will need to be compressed.

Good FTP programs will automatically perform the compression for you — although, depending on the type of compression it uses, the file may actually end up being larger than it could be. At times you may want to use a separate compression program. If so, check out ZDU's listing of compression programs in the Software Library. For more information on how to compress files, see the ZDU File Compression guide.

4. Upload the file.

To upload the file, try double-clicking on the file name or dragging the name of the file into the remote server's directory listing. Another alternative is finding an option to "put file" or to "upload" in the FTP program's menu.

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